tv Americas Lawyer with Mike Papantonio RT October 1, 2017 8:29pm-9:01pm EDT
ations and counting down the days before their kids got out of school the credit reporting agency equifax was dealing with one of the largest data breaches in american history that resulted in the personal data of more than one hundred forty three million americans getting into the wrong hands to understand the data breach when we talked to you about what a credit reporting agency like equifax is. equifax receive credit card data from credit card companies so phone carriers car dealerships and other corporations who run credit for consumers these agencies report their data to companies like equifax who then use it to generate a credit score what does that mean for you it means companies like equifax have all of your personal data even though you never signed up for the hackers who broke into the equifax system accessed information such as names social security numbers
birth dates addresses credit card numbers and even the numbers of some driver's licenses the company said that credit card numbers for about two hundred nine thousand u.s. customers were compromised in addition to personal information identifying about one hundred eighty two thousand u.s. customers and even though the data breach was discovered at the end of july now get this nothing was revealed to the public until the first week of september in a perfect world equifax would have immediately offered to help protect the identities of the people who were compromised and make sure that it took care of and make things right but apparently they're not that kind of company instead they offered people a chance to sign up for their credit monitoring programs a service they said would be free at first but then you have to start paying and to add insult to injury if you sign up for their service you might be. fecht if we
signing away your right to sue the company for their negligence the company saw the data breach as a business opportunity instead of a chance to do the right thing a common theme we see year in corporate america. joining me now to discuss this is a terminal attorney michael bigsby and my wife would start with the basics of this issue how long did the hackers have access to the information and what exactly did they obtain what's surprising is that they could have had access to this data for two and a half months or maybe even longer and the reason why they were able to exploit faxes system is because equifax failed to essentially install an update to the online or the software that they were using that was available in march so in march of this year they could have essentially fix the problem that was exploited by the
hackers and apparently they were just asleep at the wheel and no one installed the update and by may the hackers had access to this data and could have had it for two two and a half months to recover this data and as you've mentioned as many as one hundred forty three million. customers americans information could have been a lead to these hackers and the types of information that these hackers obtained is very important these include things like a social security number they include things like full name date of birth addresses even things like credit card numbers for a couple hundred thousand americans and information such as driver's licenses so this information is very important it's private confidential information that you don't want other people access now michael once they have the information where the hackers do with it. typically what you'll see happen is that the hackers themselves are the people who are all to merely going to perpetrate the crime or the fraud on
someone they'll usually syl the data to someone else who's going to try to use it typically for their own financial benefit and they might use it to try to obtain a loan in your name they might actually try to use those credit card numbers to make purchases they might try to open up a new account whatever it is whatever nefarious activity where they're trying to use your personal confidential information essentially to get themselves money to make themselves money it might be sold and resold and resold for years and the problem is once the data is out once your social security number is available that information is perpetually valuable to a hacker it's valuable tomorrow in the next day because your social security number doesn't change and so you might be worried for a year or five years or ten years going out in the future and this could be used as potentially to harm you and benefit somebody else all right now we know this isn't
the first breach here with do with national information now is equifax responsible for stopping hacks or something like that considered out of their control. equifax is absolutely responsible for stopping hacks the type of information that they have access to even from non-customers they have a a very heightened duty to protect that information because of how important it is because of what it means to the average american consumer and they know i mean these have been big issues for a number of years you can look back over the years target you can name off other major retailers who have been hacked and the type of information they have is much much more specific and much more direct than a lot of other retailers have because they have access to essentially the golden ticket of information it's not just a credit card it's not just a name it's the combination of all those things of social security numbers all these other data points which are invaluable to a hacker now equifax is
a huge company they're based out of atlanta now are they play a large role in lobbying the agencies or groups that were investigating this breach . absolutely in the past year alone before this breach happened equifax spent over a million dollars lobbying and you could look at the things they were lobbying about one of those included regulations and laws that would relate to data breach that precise situation we have here they were lobbying against having new regulations or new laws that would essentially control them they've also lobbied against things like the consumer financial protection bureau is rule against barring class action so they've been trying to get that to where they can control and they can force people into arbitrations and make them waive their right to bring a class action which in this type of a scenario where most consumers would be harmed on a relatively smaller scale
a few hundred dollars maybe even a couple thousand dollars on on the higher end for typical consumers when the cost of bringing a lawsuit an individual lawsuit is so high if equifax and other financial companies other banks like think back to wells fargo and other folks who have perpetrated wrongs in the american public if they're able to get rid of class actions they're able to essentially protect an insulate themselves from liability so the moral that story is if you're going to screw somebody over if you're going to take you know. just do it a few hundred dollars at a time so you don't have any and he recourse you can't afford to bring an individual suit in the bar your bar your right to a class action now i think the question that's on everybody's mind is if your data was stolen what should you do what steps should you take what should you do to make sure that you can protect yourself because you certainly know that equifax isn't doing it. right i think you can start one suggestion that's been made by many
folks is that you for put a freeze on your credit and this is something that can be done essentially to where when someone is trying to access it or use it. to get access to a new account or try to essentially steal your money or use your name for some purpose it's not going to go through and it's something that can be unfrozen for instance if you needed to buy a house or get a new car loan you could contact the credit reporting agencies but that's one thing that's been suggests that is put a freeze on your credit and that's going to help protect you the other thing you can do is there's a possibility if you're harmed if your information is stolen in these used to actually some of opened a false account open a hacker uses your information or your data you can look to either a class action lawsuits are very very important element of enforcing and holding companies like equifax accountable and there's also the potential for a small claims lawsuit it could be an individual lawsuit in the right circumstance but this is perhaps best suited for the class action where we can all band together
my data your data almost half of america's data has been compromised here and if we band together we can help hold equifax responsible and i think the last thing i would say is is pay attention to what's happening in congress right now the lobbyists have gotten this issue before the senate regarding the class action bar for banks and credit reporting agencies the consumer financial protection bureau is saying you cannot have a class action waiver anymore you can't use that that's unfair so pay attention as these issues are in front of congress call your call your senator one of all your congressmen that's one of the best things you need to do that is follow up with your local congressman your local senator and make sure that they know the impact this is having on main street america michael thank you watch for appearing today i appreciate please keep fighting the good fight thank you. by coming up a lawsuit has been filed after homeland security officials force american citizens
sorry i could so i write these last words in hopes to put to rest these things that i never got off my chest. i remember when we first met my life turned on each other . but then my feelings started to change you talked about war like it was again still some more fun to feel those that didn't like to question our arc and i secretly promised to never be like it said one does not leave a funeral the same as one enters the mind it's consumed with death this one quite different i speak to you now because there were no other takers. claimed that mainstream media has met its maker.
the mission of newsworthy is to go to the people tell their side of the story our stories are well sourced we don't hide anything from the public and i don't think the mainstream media in this country can say the right thing average viewer. r.t. america has a different perspective so that we're not hearing one echo chamber that mainstream media is constantly spewing. we're not beholden to any corporate sponsor no one tells us what the cover how long the coverage or how to say that's the beauty of archie america. we give both sides we hear from both sides and we question more that joining not letting anything get in your way to bring it home to the american people.
what does a nasa engineer a military veteran and a journalist and a college student all have in common they've all been forced to hand over their laptops and smart phones without a warrant by a homeland security officials when reentering the united states now ten of these citizens are filing a federal class action lawsuit saying their constitutional rights were violated joining me now the discusses in our teen york correspondent trinity shadows. thanks for coming what does this was to wedge what are the violations and what's the back the background of the cornerstone of this lawsuit. well the electronic frontier foundation and the american civil liberties union filed
a lawsuit earlier this month against a department of homeland security for warrantless border searches the lawsuit alleges that homeland security officers violated the plaintiff's fourth amendment rights when the agent thirty some cases compensated their devices without a warrant at all like their phones and their lab tops the two organizations will represent ten u.s. residents who they say are law abiding u.s. citizens who are muslim or people of color they were really entering the united states from either business or personal travel when they all had their computers and smartphones searched when none of them were accused of doing anything wrong these plaintiffs are students are journalist one was even a military vet and another one works for nasa when this all happened but some of these individuals had their phones held by border officers for months even though they weren't accused of a specific crime now under the u.s. constitution the fourth amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires law enforcement to have warrants but courts however have made exceptions
for the searches at u.s. ports of entry like at the airports and have ruled that the government can do warrantless border searches to enforce immigration and custom laws to protect national security but since trump has taken office and implemented his travel ban concerns of racial profiling and stereotyping have really become more of an issue along with violation of one's human rights and especially in today's society where we are living in the digital age our phones and our computers have a vast amount of personal information on them we're talking about pictures videos e-mails and private text messages even applications that store credit card information health information so the level of personal information is really unbelievable one plaintive shibli who has their phone searched call the ordeal a gross violation of his human rights let's go back to the nasa engineers name was going to war and he worked for nasa to drive. towards an employee and he was
subject to one of these searches no which the full story in the background. so this plaintive is an indian origin muslim who is a scientist for nasa he designs technology for space telescopes in this case he was on his way back from vacation in chile in february and when he returned to the u.s. it was just days after the signing of the travel ban when a customs and border protection agent in the houston airport pressured him to unlock his phone by typing it in in his password and forced to hand it over now is a natural born citizen and to even have a global in tree which is basically pre-approved clearance to get you through customs quicker and easier and keep in mind to join this program you have to go through a federal background check and even in person interview but regardless he was escorted to an interview room and was forced to give up his phone the officer told him that they had to search his possessions to make sure that he wasn't bringing
anything dangerous into this country the officials had asked him from everything from where he worked where he was coming from and where he lives this is all information that the officer should have already had since the plaintive was a part of the global entry program but talking of our had answered the questions and explained that he worked for nasa and that his phone was issued actually by nasa wasn't his own personal cell phone and so it may contain sensitive information that wasn't meant to be shared but none of that mattered he was still searched along with his device at one point he even asked the officer why he was chosen to be searched and questioned by the officer didn't tell him he just insisted that he had the legal authority to do this the border officer had his phone for a half an hour before he finally gave it back to him saying that he had been searching searching his phone using algorithms and of our had not known what information that the officials might have taken from his device so that that is still unknown who truly to me for most. certainly does look like these are people
with the wrong studio or and the wrong means they're getting picked on a lawn based on profiling issues is the basis for all u.s. border officers searching their their phones and their persons and doing his extensive background checks or is this just is this just groups of profiling. well i mean this is it gets complicated right because the government is initially will seemingly so trying to protect the u.s. from terrorism and things of that nature but but this isn't a new protocol this is something that they have been really kind of going for them for the last few years but this has become more of an issue recently you know officials say that the electronic searches began that late in the bush administration but c.b.p. officers have cracked down on these inspections and this year since trump has implemented the travel plans ban and people can be searched based on a number of different reasons according to the guidelines though on the c.b.p. website you could be subjected to inspections because your travel documents are
incomplete or you don't have the proper documents or visa you may also have previously by elated one of the laws of forces or even if you can maybe even if you have a name that matches a person of interest in their database so there are several different reasons that me apply to a person so but one thing is how they even know that these are people of interest or if they're there documents are incorrect how how do they know that without initiating the conversation with these travelers and as far as the people's phones go travelers are not legally required to unlock their phones or devices but we're agents are known to detain individuals for long periods of time when they don't cooperate so you know that's why people feel pressured to give them the passwords to their phones you know just like going to bars case where he was not allowed to leave until he gave the agents the pass code to unlock his phone so you
hold them all suited to you the password or me when i talk about look at a troubled look at you look at photos they're looking at laptops so in addition to not have the any warrant to search through someone's private information and what hazards are posed to citizens if their. messages as you mentioned photos they can all be searched by. authorities like they have been. yeah absolutely and you know to really pinpoint the exact racial makeup of the individuals who are being targeted and who are getting inspected gets a little tricky you know that information which hasn't been released by the c.b.p. but what i can tell you is that the a.c.l.u. reported that the amount of searches border patrol have spiked recently and according to the data on the c.b.p. site the number of searches grew from eight thousand five hundred three in two thousand and fifteen to nineteen thousand thirty three in two thousand and sixteen that's an increase of almost one hundred twenty five percent and officers have already carried out nearly fifteen thousand searches just this year between january
and june which puts a c.b.p. on track to conduct about thirty thousand searches for the year but the government has said that those searches happen to fewer than one hundred one percent of international travelers and that they are authorized by some laws that allow border agents to look through suitcases without a judge's approval and those are the same laws they are using to search people's devices. judy thank you for joining us today. and i'm sure residents are challenging the proposed hundred eighty mile power line project to go there pass that will wrong through most of the state one small town is even taking donations for a legal fund that they have been using to keep the fight going strong in court joining me now to talk about this is legal journalist for trial lawyer magazine molly barrows molly thank you for thank you for coming definitely glad to be here
peter glad to have you here filling in for pat today thank you so well why is this project controversial what's the big deal well it seems like the entire state of new hampshire is opposed to this project and that spin off and on the radar for a number of years now it's basically a project a collaboration project between two power companies one out of callback in fact it's called the back where is the name of this hydro compact is that one company and then the other energy providers ever source which is based in new hampshire so for years they've been trying to bring this new basically an extension of this canadian power company through new hampshire claiming that it would have greener energy it would bring lower energy bills that it would provide jobs in the of course or be more taxable value to all of those things but a number of people are opposed to this and have been for a long time whether it's citizens or environmental groups or government agencies and so the small town of deerfield is one of them and basically all their concerns are it's not going to look good to hampshire's a beautiful state we've got a lot of force we've got a lot of hiking we've got a lot of conservation land a lot of animals and natural fisheries that we want to protect and they're
concerned that all the work that will go into this whether it's creating dams and reservoirs or utilizing the ones that they've already got that it's going to create more problems there's a canadian indian tribe that's based in that area they're also concerned about delicate salmon fisheries violating their hunting land so you name it everybody's got an axe to grind with this project and they have been back and forth to the drawing board several times it was just part of the you know the trend everybody heard about the dakota pipeline that everyone challenge there was a few. protest the federal government broadly and you think this is part of the trend is a similar objection of there's some overlap between the two well i think some of the overlap could very well be the issue of private citizens and corporate going up head to head against corporations whose interests are better who's got the most influence in washington and i think that's a lot of what you saw in the pipeline process and i think what you're seeing in new hampshire is less of that and more perhaps at one time they might have gotten away with something like that but you've got all eyes on this project pretty much since
the beginning and i hate to say it but almost and more influential group of citizens more than one hundred sixty individuals government agencies as well as regular environmental groups that are opposed to this project and they've all been speaking out in different ways everything from we want your power lines very we don't want to above ground and they've gone back to the drawing board two or three times just to revise the location even eminent domain is another issue that could cross between this and other you know projects where a company wants to come in and just do a land grab based on right of way in order to serve the public need the greater good but in this case the entire state was so opposed to it the new hampshire legislature took the step in two thousand and twelve basically outlawing the process of eminent domain when it came to power lines and then they were actually started raising money and then once they got the money and what did they would they done what's the method that they're use well this one hundred ninety two long mile power line project will end in the small town of deerfield fact it's going across some of thirty small towns right through the middle the state right through the middle of these towns and again they're worried about
a statics how's this going to look to our town is going to impact tourism and we just don't want it in our town so the sensually they're trying to find hire an attorney they've been working with an attorney for the past year now last year the citizens voted not to find an attorney specifically to fight this but there are enough citizens in this town that say we do want to fight it we're going to fundraise for you yeah because what tell me what the word is a legal case to me and what's weird is that now i think about well right now they don't even have state of. they're still going through the state permitting process because there's a state committee that will continue to hear people on this issue have hearings on it through december and then in february of next year is when they're actually going to decide whether or not the project moves forward so in some situations if they do decide to move the project forward some citizens may be happy with how it turns out perhaps they got there the plan moving up power lines underground whatever their particular issue was may be addressed but i don't know how they're going to make everybody happy but at least there's some leeway it's not just black and white as in the dakota pipeline issue we're going to be for whether you like it
or not and. there's the commerce and some of the some of the other companies that are lands brad right well thank you very much more for coming in pretty sure you're done and finally tonight some good news for minimum wage workers in washington state one hundred fifty employees of the herds and thrifty car rental agencies were granted a two million dollars settlement for wages earned but were never paid hertz thrifty and other businesses in the city of sea-tac refused to accept the fifteen dollars minimum wage law that voters passed in the city which took effect in two thousand and fourteen so they continue despite the law to pay workers only twelve dollars an hour while washington state supreme court upheld the law in the state's department of labor industries followed suit by announcing the back pay settlements to workers some employees will get as much as thirty thousand dollars for wages they never received since the law took effect many cities and states are still fighting to
increase minimum wage standers to fifteen dollars an hour hopefully this announcement will be encouraging to workers seeking a fair wage as the cost of living keeps going up. that's all for tonight be sure to check out our web site. ball where you can actually talk to an attorney about any of the stories we've covered on the show and find us on facebook at facebook dot com slash r t america's lawyer also you can now watch all america r.t. america programs and this program on direct t.v. on channel three twenty one. twenty and for my passion tonio in this is america's lawyer every week we tell you the stories that corporate media is ordered not to tell because their advertisers won't let them have a great night. called
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